NEW YORK – July 7, 2021 — Georgia is the best state to retire and Maryland is the worst, according to a new study from Bankrate.com. All 50 states were examined and ranked on the basis of affordability (weighted 40%), wellness (weighted 20%), culture (weighted 15%), weather (weighted 15%), and crime (10%).
Despite ranking on the lower side for culture (41/50) and wellness (32/50), Georgia still earned the top spot on the list for being the 3rd most affordable state and having the 4th best weather in the country.
Maryland’s bottom-of-the-list ranking came from particularly low scores for affordability (47/50), culture (39/50), weather (36/50), and crime (29/50), despite ranking 4th best for wellness.
Some surprising states to hit the top 5 rankings include Tennessee (1/50 affordability), Missouri (3/50 for affordability), and Massachusetts (1/50 for wellness).
Less surprising were the bottom 5 ranking states such as Minnesota (39/50) for affordability, Kansas (35/50) for culture, Montana (47/50 for weather), and Alaska (49/50 for crime and 48/50 for weather).
“Deciding where to retire is a deeply personal choice, and a state-by-state index can’t capture every factor that matters to you,” said Bankrate.com analyst Jeff Ostrowski. “Some people want to stay close to family and friends. Others want warmer winters, more affordable housing, or a slower pace of life.
Before you make a move, think hard about the various factors that are important to you.”
Ranking Methodology: Bankrate looked at a number of public and private datasets related to the life of a retiree. The study examined five categories (weightings in parentheses): affordability (40 percent), wellness (20 percent), culture (15 percent), weather (15 percent), and crime (10 percent).
Affordability was calculated using the 2020 Cost of Living Index from the Council for Community and Economic Research and property and sales tax rates from the Tax Foundation’s rankings for 2020-21.
For wellness rankings, Bankrate used the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index released in May 2021. The index measures a variety of factors, including access to health care, access to food, physical health, and economic security.
Culture was calculated using the number of arts, entertainment, and recreation establishments per capita, restaurants per capita, and adults 65 and older per capita from the U.S. Census Bureau.
For weather scores, we relied on three decades of average daily temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. We also used NOAA data for tornado strikes and hurricane landfalls, and earthquake reports from the U.S. Geological Survey.
We calculated crime using the rates of property crimes and violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants for each state from the FBI’s 2019 Crime in the United States report.
For the full report, visit: https://www.bankrate.com/retirement/best-and-worst-states-for-retirement/